Warning: Blood and Gore!

There will be blood. In this post. You won’t have to see it, but it’s there in writing. If you’re squeamish, turn back now! Quick! I’ve warned you!

Okay. Proceeding on. Everyone here has some vague idea of what they’re getting into, right?

Tonight in my trauma class, we workshopped this piece of mine. I got a lot of really good comments! Because my trauma class is fantastic. A lot of really good writers writing about really traumatic stuff. Welcome to trauma class. The bravest people ever.

Anyway, this is my piece. I’m posting the version that got workshopped, aka I haven’t implemented the awesome suggestions that I got yet. Here ya go. Btw, it’s a bit bloody. In case you missed that.

 

Extraction, Summer 2012


There are things that we do that we can’t talk about afterwards. There are things that other people won’t want to know.

There is a group of rats in cages in a red-lit room and they came here in a wire-mesh-lined box. Their eyes see only darkness; red eyes can’t see red lights.

The cage is selected purposefully, the rat within the cage could be any of the four. One is picked up. His tail has black lines drawn on it to identify him but today the lines are uncounted.

The syringe is filled with a clear sedative. The rat is cupped in a hand and swung through the air, back and forth, until he stops struggling. The tip of the needle is inserted into his stomach. The plunger is pushed. He is placed in a box. Eventually he sleeps.

White lab coats are put on. White light overhead.

He is picked up again, and pinned to a tray. He doesn’t feel the pins pushed through his limbs. Scissors cut open his chest cavity, and the skin is pulled back and also pinned. The blood is red.

A needle attached to a tube attached to a pump is inserted into his left atrium, and the pump is turned on. It pumps phosphorous-buffered saline throughout his cardiovascular system, using the still-beating heart to insure that the blood is flushed out of all his veins.

The blood soaks the white fur. The heart continues to beat. The phosphorous-buffered saline is replaced with a beaker of paraformaldehyde. The pumping continues. The heart preserves the body.

A toe twitches. A miniscule squeak.

The pumping finishes. The pins are removed. The dripping body is lifted from the tray. The skin over the chest flops open. The heart is still.

A miniature green guillotine is removed from a cabinet. The head is inserted into the hole. A swift motion. The fleshy spinal cord hangs from the neck. The body is placed in a semi-transparent white garbage bag. The blood smears the inside of the plastic.

The head is placed on a tray. Red eyes are blind now to the white light.

Note to Self

Dear Self,

You’re pretty cute, did you know that? Your hair is really cool, I actually think the dye job looks kinda nice. And you’re like… smart and stuff. Maybe we should hang out some time? Go to like… a pizza place? A movie? My house? Hang out a bit?

You thought I was serious, didn’t you? F no bro, I’m so not interested. Here’s what you actually should know: your 40 page gov paper is not going to get written unless you start writing it. Please do that immediately. Or else.

Love,

Me

Getting Sillier

Oh hey blogosphere, I haven’t seen you in a while. Since I’m incredibly busy, I thought I’d post my first exercise from my creative writing class. The prompt was to write testimony (like court testimony). This way you can a) laugh a little hopefully b) think about what your pet would say about you c) not really, because that’s really corny and d) know what’s going on in my brain. Happy reading (I hope) 🙂

Also, as my friend Kraksy will attest, looking at pictures of guinea pigs makes me unnaturally happy. Here’s a guinea pig for you to smile at before you read (not my guinea pig) (aka the narrator)

Testimony of Cinnamon, a guinea pig

 

My name is Cinnamon, better known as Minnie. I hereby solemnly swear on all that I hold dear (namely, my water bottle, my crawl-tunnel, and my Food Dish which is always plentiful) that I shall now tell nothing but the truth.
It is indeed true that, as a small rodent, I have no long-term memory.
It is also true that thus, I have no memories which could lead to the persecution and/or prosecution of my Owner, she who refills the Food Dish.
It would be out of the bounds of my memory, then, to report that perhaps my Food Dish is not “always plentiful,” as previously stated. I would not recall days when the Food Dish was not refilled.
It would also be impossible for me to state that occasionally, though Owner is supposed to take her medication before she goes to sleep, she often does not sleep until the sun has again risen and thus does not take her medication until that time.
It would be highly improper of me, as I have no recollection of these events, to state that after injecting herself in the leg with the aforementioned medication, Owner just leaves the used syringe sitting on her table. Surely, she would never do something so irresponsible.
It has been told to me, since I would not recall, that I was named Cinnamon due to the fact that I was purchased with another Guinea Pig, who was named Nutmeg, called Meggie. I can assume, through knowledge of Owner’s intelligence, that she did not actually believe us to have been sisters. Having examined photos of the Other Pig, Meggie, I can report that we do not look like sisters at all. Her fur is an entirely different texture.
As I also have no depth perception, it would be hard for me to observe Owner’s actions in a way that would lead to valuable testimony. I have thus never observed Owner stating to her mother “Yes, I will clean my room,” and then proceeding to sit on her floor watching moving images on her keyboard and screen device while eating crunchy puffed grains. I also, of course, speak no English and would not have understood the discourse.
I can also, since I speak no English, not attest to many conversations between Owner and her mother which proceed as follows: the mother says “Clean the Guinea Pig’s cage,” and Owner says “Why? It looks perfectly fine,” while I, Cinnamon, wallow in my own filth. Owner, were I able to understand her, would never say such a thing, nor would she allow me to inhabit an unclean cage.
As Owner is a good Owner and takes care of me well, she would never allow the smaller human, also known as “Devilish Child,” to come into our cage, reach into my smaller cage, and pick me up.
Since she of course would chaperone these visits, were they ever to take place, she would never allow Devilish Child to squish my stomach for many minutes while laughing.
I would not recall, with my limited memory, times when Owner failed to fully protect my cage from outsiders and thus allowed the Medium Sized Mammal to swipe his paw through the bars of my smaller cage. Owner would never allow me to be put in such danger, and if she had, I would not remember.
Based on my limited recollections, which, due to my lack of long-term memory, have all taken place over the past ten minutes, I can assure the court that Owner is a perfectly fit Owner and should be allowed to continue to act as my caretaker.

 

 

The Mother-Daughter BlogStravaganza

How to Write a Marketable BookBased on our research of actual book titles, we’ve got the formula: towering intellectual figure + everyday object.
Thoreau’s Laundry
Flaubert’s Parrot
Heidegger’s Glasses
Wittgenstein’s Poker
Beethoven’s Hair

Easy, right?  Ideally the object should be one the Intellectual Figure handles every day, to enhance intimacy and mystery (the mystery of, Why the fuck would anyone write about this?) Writing the book is not really the problem, it’s the title. So to make it easier on you, the writer-to-be, we’ve created a list:

Darwin’s Ladle
Asimov’s Spatula
Sartre’s Springform Pan
Kant’s Whisk
Nietzsche’s Coffee Mug
Picasso’s Toothbrush
Van Gogh’s Multivitamins
Monet’s Smartwool Socks
Hume’s Waxed Floss
Gaudi’s Q-tip
Beckett’s Fingernail Clippers
Freud’s iPad
Shakespeare’s Doorknob
Joan of Arc’s Digital Camera
Queen Elizabeth’s Wireless Mouse
Tolstoy’s Brita Pitcher

Historical inaccuracy?  Why not speculate on what Joan would have photographed if she could have!  A hipster self-portrait of herself being burned to death after which she tossed the camera away from the fire… Anyway, remember to add hypersexuality, insanity, and death, plus creamed herring for breakfast or whatever weird thing your Intellectual Figure tucks into his or her mouth.  We all have mouths, so we want to know this stuff.  Add odd habits, such as walking by the clocktower every day at noon, or always washing the left underarm first, or roasting roadkill  to save money.   Or building teepees out of sticks and calling them magic caves as the apocalypse arrives (apologies to Von Trier–but we would rather roll up in blankets in a closet and suck down some liquor than sit on an exposed hillside without even a sweater if the world was going to end–though the teepee was more picturesque, we grant).

Whoa–pie break.  I made a chocolate cream pie last night, in a successful effort to get my father to eat carbs.  He ate carbs!  Unalloyed culinary triumph! Now we must have some pie. Anyway, here’s the end of our first mother-daughter-blog-stravaganza, look out for more in the future!
Love,
Kathryn & Cade

Fear

Self-analysis is so weird. I was looking through my posts here, and I noticed that the ones I have saved as drafts are the ones where I’m being more serious. I think I kind of have a fear of being honest/serious/emotional/a real person online that I don’t have (as much) in real life. I guess because in real life you can’t edit yourself all the time, and if you did you’d be so stressed (more stressed than I am already) so it’s not really worth it. For me at least.

My mom recently mentioned that she thinks the word I use most in my texts to her is “stress.” I don’t really like that. I went through high school with all this drive and this “exuberance is beauty” mentality and I think now my mentality is more “stressed.” How are you? I’m stressed. Can’t talk right now, stressing about X.

Since this will be the first post of the new year (as long as the world doesn’t end), I thought I’d make it very honest.

And I’ve also noticed that something I don’t talk a lot about is disease. Ironic, right? That’s the whole point of this blog. I never blogged before because I thought it was kind of conceited of me to think that people might want to read about just my life. And when I got diagnosed I thought hey, now I have something that’s actually worth sharing. Maybe I can help someone else who’s going through the same thing. Maybe I can meet someone (still hasn’t happened yet) who’s going through the same thing.

But then the blog became a lot about my life and not a lot about being sick. I guess because I don’t really think of myself as sick? It’s hard to think of myself as being a sick person. A person with a disease. And yet when I’m planning a trip (like to see friends in New York and Boston this month), I have to consider when can I go? It’s easiest if I go on leg injection days because I can do those myself. And I have to bring my injection kit and my sharps container and all my medications (even the just-in-case ones). And I have to ask people if they’re squeamish and I have to find a place to do the injection where I won’t bother anyone.

And I can’t really ever be carefree. I think it’s already really indulgent and weird of every generation to see their college years as years where nothing is real (“you’re not an alcoholic until graduation” is a common saying) and you can do whatever you want, but that didn’t stop me from wanting that for myself.

Sometimes I just don’t want to sleep. Sometimes I just want to stay up late for no reason and watch the hours go by and read books or write or talk to whoever happens to be awake or wander around my house or stare at the ceiling and wish I had imaginary friends. And suddenly I have to be very conscious of that tendency in myself, and tell myself to go to sleep. Because losing sleep puts me more at risk for symptoms. But I don’t really see it as losing sleep, I see it as gaining hours just for me. Maybe by being sick, then, I’ve lost a little of myself?

The last time I wrote something I really liked, I ended it by saying that it was a story without a conclusion or a moral. It was just a story of real life, and not all real life stories have punch lines or final thoughts. Usually they’re just continuing on.

OH, and I speak Spanish…

(Intro: This was my final essay for my Spanish lit class this semester and my mom thought it would be good to post on my blog. If you’re mentioned and don’t like what I say about you, or if you think my Spanish sucks, or if you think my writing sucks, that’s nice but I don’t care too much.) 

Cava Barata
Dos anos vivía en Barcelona, en el Barrio Gótico. En los dos anos, he cambiado mi carácter y personaje mucho, y después fue una persona muy diferente. Un adulta, en una manera, y en otras maneras tan juvenil.

Vivíamos cerca de una pizzería nueva, se llama Buoni y Cattivi, y después de algunas meses, el propietario nos conocía. Ocasionalmente, cuando pediríamos una pizza o algo mas, ha incluido una botella de cava barata y rosa, de forma gratuita.  Esto fue mi primero gusto de cava barata. En Cataluña, cava barata no es algo malo. Toda la gente, rico o pobre, tiene en común esta bebida. Y de repente, yo era una de los Catalans. 

Después, aprendió de beber cortados y zumo fresco de naranjas, como los Catalans. Aprendió de entender l’idioma catala. Aprendió también como cocinar el carbasso fregit, como las mujeres Catalans, y como alegria per al Barca y malediccio (en caso de Madrid, o profesores, o perder el tren, o realmente todo el día) como las estudiantes Catalans. 

Pero todo el tiempo, recordé que el primer paso fue el primero gusto de cava barata. Y al fin de mi tiempo en Barcelona, con solo siete u ocho días allí, fue invitado a una fiesta. Fue la puesta larga de una amiga, Gloria, cuya familia posee una fabrica de cava. Posible fabrica no es la palabra correcta, porque cava no es un coche o algo mecánica, pero no se. En cada caso, creo que no importa. Fue un ocasión muy rara para mi, una fiesta grande e importante para las chicas en sus décimo octavo cumpleaños. Y, por supuesto, hay cava. Tazones y tazones de cava, con frutas y sin frutas, en rosa o ambarino. Cava, como no fue algo magico. Como es ordinario. Y en este mundo, el mundo de Catalunya y puestas largas y almuerzos que duran tres horas, cava fue trivial. 

En esta manera, dije adiós a Catalunya. Dije adiós a la meva anima catala  nova, y l’idioma que había robado a mi personaje viejo y lo reemplazo con algo nuevo. Algo como la lengua y cultura catala, rara y lista a luchar. 

Volví a mi país EE.UU. que ya no era mío. Fue a universidad y, otra vez, empezó a crear una nueva vida en lo que parecía un país extranjero.

Y sorprendentemente, la cava barata me encontraba, una noche fría en un dormitorio. 

Una chica en mi grupo de amigos ha comprado cava barata, como sorpresa, para una fiesta en el cuarto de mi amigo. Los otros lo miraron con disgusto, como si fuera algo vulgar y indigno, demasiado indigno para su aparentemente digna fiesta. Pero para mi, fue una ventana que mostró mi vida Catalan. En mis manos fue una taza roja y plástica, llena de mi antigua vida. Y como hacemos cuando nos enfrentamos con algo delicioso y nostálgico de nuestro pasado, bebí la cava barata como si fuera agua santa con alcohol. 

Pero algo no iba bien. No tenia el mismo sabor, no tenia el mismo significado. Y no importa si lo quería o lloraba, no estaba en el Barrio Gótico en una calle delgada y bella con una pizzería cuya propietario nos conocía. Estaba en un dormitorio. Con personas que no sabían nada de mi vida o yo. Y después de treinta minutos, también estaba borracha. 

A la manana siguiente, me desperte con la sensación de resaca. Mi companera de cuarto me miro con la misma mirada de disgusto que ella lo ha dado a la cava barata la noche anterior, y dijo “levántate, tenemos que empacar las maletas.” 

Y yo hice las maletas y me fui al dormitorio y regreso a casa de mis padres en Pennsylvania. Pero la resaca no me deja como mis amigos y mis estudios. Era mi nuevo compañero constante durante dos días, y luego tres, y luego siete, y luego mi vida. Porque no era una resaca después de todo, fue esclerosis múltiple. Y aunque no era un amigo, no pude decirle que me dejara sola. 

Deseo que pueda decir que significa algo importante o legitimo sobre mi vida o sobre del deseo de encontrar mi vida antigua. Deseo que pueda encontrar la conclusión que `poder arreglar algo, y poder arreglar lo que hice mal. Pero esto no es ficción, no es un cuento de hadas, y yo no creo que en la búsqueda de mi gusto de Catalunya que hice algo terrible. 

Creo que esto es solo una historia de la vida real, sin una conclusión, sin embargo, sin un final feliz. Al final, es solo un vaso de plástico rojo, esperando de ser rellenado. 

Lists are So Easy :)

Since I’ve been failing lately at blogging, I thought I’d get back into it by doing something I’m VERY GOOD at: making lists. Today’s list:

Thing to Do instead of Considering the Fact that You (yes, YOU) Have a Lifelong Disease (Fun Times)

1. Eat cotton candy ice cream (for ye wes students, there’s cotton candy ice cream at usdan today!) 

2. Clean your room (ha.) 

3. Ponder the meaning of life

4. Study

5. Paint your nails 

6. Hug your roommate 🙂 

7. Read the paper

8. Okay, fine, just read the Sunday Styles section of the NYT online

9. Think about why the goddamn NYT is no longer free online 

10. Sing!

11. Make to-do lists

12. Read all interesting CNN articles plus some random fashion blogs

13. Avoid your schoolwork a little more, why don’t you…

14. Call your mom

15. Check your mailbox

16. Think of something evil to do to your little brothers (watch out, hehehe) 

17. Make a new playlist 

18. Make your own waffles at brunch

19. Write some sketch comedy 

20. And realize you need to do your copaxone injection soon, rendering the above list slightly useless…. oh well